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John Heward Trio: Let Them Pass (laissez-passer)

Javier AQ Ortiz By

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In the case of any abstract interpretation of human experience, it is not necessary to get—or even know—the author's point of view in order to assail it at any level. In the case of Let Them Pass (laissez-passer), the first recording by the John Heward Trio, it does help to be aware of the collective spur for this outstanding work: the worldwide experience of immigration. Mulled over seven "avant jazz movements, reedist and flutist Joe Giardullo, bassist Mike Bisio, and Montreal native Heward as drummer/percussionist account for their respective parents' and grandparents' emigration to Canada and the US.

Heard in its entirety, the recording's charismatic evolution can jar one's senses—particularly on the cuts featuring tenor sax—while also enveloping itself into scant vanishing acts of rank minimalism that are always full of abstract zip nonetheless. In "Let Them Pass Two, for example, the initial dealings between mid to high-toned bowed bass and the liberated drumming of Heward—who can keep temporal signatures amidst its continuous thumpings throughout the entire drum kit—engage rather fiercely while the unsweetened piccolo joins in as a full-fledged peer. Their performance acquires a particularly high level of musicianship during their last two minutes or so together, as the receding drumming serves as backdrop for a particularly virtuosic exchange between the bowing Bisio and the blowing Giardullo.

"Let Them Pass Four features a drippy and sparse bass clarinet, bass, and percussion engagement that can pass by one's attention with little notice. Herein, the musicians say as much as they want with as little as possible. Imagine a free jazz low-toned wind chime on an almost windless day...

Barely touched by breath, the alto flute in "Let Them Pass Six is rather liquid in its effect, as are the bowed bass lines while the percussive colors resemble the occasional thumps on the side of a seafaring ship. Is the ship about to dock?

Track Listing: 1. Let Them Pass One (M. Bisio, J. Giardullo, J. Heward) 2. Let Them Pass Two (M. Bisio, J. Giardullo, J. Heward) 3. Let Them Pass Three (M. Bisio, J. Giardullo, J. Heward) 4. Let Them Pass Four (M. Bisio, J. Giardullo, J. Heward) 5. Let Them Pass Five (M. Bisio, J. Giardullo, J. Heward) 6. Let Them Pass Six (M. Bisio, J. Giardullo, J. Heward) 7. Let Them Pass Seven (M. Bisio, J. Giardullo, J. Heward)

Personnel: Bass: Mike Bisio. Drums & percussion: John Heward. Tenor sax, bass clarinet, piccolo & alto flute: Joe Giardullo.

Title: Let Them Pass (laissez-passer) | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Drimala Records


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